Virgin Mobile moves in

Virgin Mobile has agreed to take over the lease of a 1,100 sq ft store in Gateshead's MetroCentre.

Virgin Mobile has agreed to take over the lease of a 1,100 sq ft store in Gateshead's MetroCentre.

The unit at 80-81 Metro Centre will be one of Virgin Mobile's three stand-alone stores which it is looking to trial in the UK.

The company - now owned by NTL having been founded by Sir Richard Branson - has taken on a 25-year lease which began on Christmas Day 1987 at a rent of £105,000 per annum.

The new store will be Virgin Mobile's first in the north of England. They have two stand-alone operations in Essex.

Richard Barker, DTZ retail surveyor who advised on the deal, said: "This is a great deal for the North-East, one which reaffirms the MetroCentre as Europe's largest shopping and leisure destination which continues to attract high profile retailers."

Hammond Phillips acted for the assignor, Tarak Clothing Co Ltd, trading as Quiz.

Meanwhile, the MetroCentre is facing controversy over its plans to close the Metroland funfair attraction in the shopping centre.

Managers from owner Capital Shopping Centres are looking at proposals to modernise the yellow mall in the MetroCentre, where Metroland is situated.

It is believed they favour plans to replace it with the Odeon Cinema, now in the blue mall. In the cinema's place they'll build a fitness centre.

A final scheme is expected to be submitted to Gateshead Borough Council for planning permission in the near future.

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